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Friday, March 13, 2009

Pakistan Is Riding A Many-Headed Hydra

Posted by: danish Ahmed 2:36 AM

The picture of Lankan cricketers being air-lifted by a military chopper from the very ground they should be playing on, may reflect the state of affairs in Pakistan. If the attack was audacious, the lack of security and the administration's immediate response raise too many questions. How could all twelve of the attackers disappear after carrying out such a horrendous attack? The ambush was carried not in hilly terrains of FATA but in a bustling city of Lahore! No matter how well trained they might have been, twelve young men fleeing after carrying out such an attack would attract some attention. The fact that many of the attacker have been captured in CCTV footage and the plethora of evidence they have left behind should make the task easy.

When the convoy was attacked the bus driver sped to the Gaddafi Stadium from where the players were air-lifted by a military chopper but not far from this venue a patrol vehicle did not find it unusual that three young men were speeding away from the site on a motorbike! Well, I am not weaving a conspiracy theory but just putting togather facts that indicate Pak authorities may have bungled up. In fact, if the immediate objective of terror attacks is to spread panic and mistrust, Lahore ambush has been a pretty successful one. Does the fact that the Lankan players were air-lifted from the stadium and were subsequently taken to Dubai suggest that the Pak authority did not trust even its own agencies? As for that matter, was the decision to air-lift players made by the civilian authority? And if indeed it was the civilian administration, had it then put the Lahore cops into action? Does this imply that the popular world opinion of there being multiple power centres in Pakistan, an undeniable fact?

These are some of the questions which may have very definite answers but I simply haven't come across them.However, most of the people would agree that reaction in this manner indicates that the decision-makers are absolutely panicky. When India reacts to terror attacks by panicking it is deplorable but still understandable considering the fact that it is a very non-military state. The majority of Indians do not belong belong to the warrior class, they are mostly of trader, artisan, farmer and scholars pedigree but that is not the case with Pakistan. Its society is perhaps the most militarized society in the contemporary world,yet its response was hardly upto the expectation. There seems to be some confusion in the Pakistani establishment regarding the strategy in the war against terror. Since the 26/11 attack in Mumbai, Pakistani authorities have been indulging in unabashed double-speak but post Lahore ambush the barrage of contradictory statements have exceeded the bounds of coherence. I don't think that the civilian as well as the military leadership of Pakistan is so infantile as to think it could take the world for a ride.

Pakistan is often said to be riding the tiger which will pounce on it the moment it gets off and it is for this reason that nations of the world are taking measures to prevent its eventual collapse.Since its creation the common people have been subjected to either autocratic military regimes or corrupt and inefficient politicians. While its neighbors, its best friend and arch-enemy China and India have been developing at a rapid pace, Pakistan's economy has all but stagnated. Thus it is not surprising that militant groups continue to draw support and volunteers from the disgruntled sections by offering them an alternative political system. Pakistan may be fighting with the "terrorists" in its North-West but it is in no way inclined to tar identical militants fighting against India in Kashmir with the same brush. Yet, it can never say for sure that the very same "mujahideen" in Kashmir are not the "terrorists" in Lahore.

Pakistan is not riding a tiger, it is riding a many-headed Hydra whose tentacles wreck havoc from USA to India and from UK to Afghanistan, but its biggest victim is and will continue be the Pakistani state itself. So all these boil down to what India has been saying all along, dismantle the infrastructure of terror completely, questions and answers, evidences and witnesses are mere technicalities, all you need to do is to face the reality and do the right thing.That reminds me of the bus driver of the Sri Lankan team who has been rightfully hailed as a hero for keeping his calm and driving the guest team to safety amidst gunfire and grenade attacks. He displayed the grit and determination and the attitude necessary to defeat terrorists. Policy makers in Pakistan have much to learn from this bus driver of Lahore.

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